How much is an online degree worth? Does £500,000 sound about right?
Choosing to invest in your education can sometimes feel like a gamble; will the amount spent on fees actually result in a higher-paid job? The good news for those considering starting a degree is that it almost certainly will.
The latest studies now show that “jobseekers without a degree could earn up to £12,000 a year less than their graduate peers entering the job market, a report says – the equivalent of more than £500,000 over an average working life.”1
This astronomical figure, produced by Jobs website Adzuna in June 2015, concludes that the pay gap between graduates and non-graduates (usually cited as £100,000) is actually widening.
It’s even better news for women, as a report in September 2015 stated that they “earn at least three times as much as non-graduates within a decade of leaving university.”2
And if you’re also thinking of studying for a postgraduate degree, the rewards can be even greater as “average annual salaries for those with postgraduate degrees can be more than £10,000 higher than those with undergraduate degrees.”3
But what about online and part-time degrees? It’s good news there too, with employers increasingly viewing online degrees as equal to qualifications from campus-based institutions. A recent report stated that “an online bachelor’s degree can be an advantage in the eye of an employer” because students have “juggled multiple commitments while earning their degree.”4
How you can take advantage of this
Here at University of Essex Online, we understand that newspaper scare stories about increasing fees and desolate job markets can make an undergraduate or postgraduate degree extremely daunting. If the financial implications have always held you back from studying, then this is your chance; we offer you several ways to reduce or spread the cost of tuition fees while earning this valuable qualification.
Most UK or EU students living in England or the EU are eligible for a government-backed student loan. Students awarded the loan don’t have to pay any tuition fees up front, as the amount covers the full cost of their course. This means that there is no initial amount to pay, so students don’t have to save up for years before starting to study.
Another advantage of a student loan over normal borrowing is that you won’t be due to start repaying your loan until the April four years after the start of your course or the April after you leave your course – whichever comes first. However, you’ll only start making repayments if your income is more than £25,000 a year (for undergraduate students) or £21,000 (for postgraduate students) and any outstanding balance will be written off after 30 years. In addition, if your circumstances change and your annual income drops below £25,000 your undergraduate repayments will stop. And if your annual income drops below £21,000 your postgraduate repayments will stop.
If you’re not eligible for a tuition fee loan, or you decide to fund your undergraduate course yourself, we offer a simple monthly payment plan that enables you to spread the cost of your tuition over the duration of your studies. A 10% discount is also available if you pay your annual undergraduate tuition fees up front in full.
Postgraduate students who are UK or EU nationals living in England are also eligible for a government-backed student loan. Postgraduate student loans are paid directly to you, and you can choose how much you borrow (depending on the current maximum loan limit set by the Student Loans Company).
We also offer a 10% discount for full payment of annual postgraduate tuition fees up front. And if you have successfully completed a Bachelors degree with us or University of Essex and decide to continue your studies to Masters level, we will also offer you a 10% Alumni Loyalty Discount on your postgraduate tuition fees.
So if you want to improve your career prospects and boost your salary, studying online for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree is the natural next step and the research suggests that it’s a safer bet than you probably ever thought.